A Series of Doctoral Dissertation Write-up Workshops

The African continent is rapidly urbanizing. If this point is agreed upon by a wide variety of actors—from media, to governments, UN agencies, development banks as well as scholars—there is far less consensus about what this process will mean for Africans. As regional and global crossroads, African cities refract broader geo-economic and political trends, often in innovative, anticipatory and unexpected ways.

  • What new political orders and subjectivities are produced in fast-growing and diverse cities?
  • How do urban residents reformat social relations across time and space, folding in practices of solidarity as well as indifference?
  • If urbanization denotes processes of establishing and distributing public and common goods, how are under-resourced cities positioning themselves to meet the needs of the rising urban populations?
  • In what ways are rights—to land, to the city, to political participation, to expression—constituted or reshaped in relation to formal and informal modes of urban governance?
  • When are differences—of gender, generations, class, ethnicity, or migration history—made to matter, and in what ways?
  •  
    The Academy of African Urban Diversity is a multi-year series of workshops that brings together doctoral students to debate and theorize the political, social and economic processes surrounding Africa’s growing and diversifying cities. Running for five years (from 2017 to 2021) the Academy aims to counter the narrow empiricism that characterizes many studies of urban Africa by pushing participants to think relationally and theoretically about the social, economic and political assemblages and processes generated by rapid urbanization and human mobility. Each year, the AAUD will bring together a cohort of 8-10 post-field work doctoral students exploring diversity in African cities to refine their research focus, promote professional development, and build trans-national scholarly communities. Each cohort will meet in two intensive workshops, one in South African and the other in Germany. The first week-long workshop combines advanced seminars on theories of the urban, migration, and diversity by leaders in the field; peer worshiping of dissertation plans; professional development; and international networking. The cohort will then convene again, one year on, to present their work and offer insights and advice to the next years incoming cohort of fellows.

    The AAUD supports a new generation of scholars in the humanistic social sciences pursing research that advances knowledge about mobility and urban diversity in Africa. We welcome applicants from all social sciences disciplines, including but not limited to anthropology, contemporary history, sociology, political science, economics, human geography, urban studies, and planning. We also encourage applicants from other disciplines who engage expressly with urban theory. Applicants should have completed data collection by the time of the academy, and be in the initial phase of the write-up period for the PhD dissertation. While we push for theoretical engagement, projects should be empirically grounded.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Must be currently enrolled in a PhD program.
    • Must have completed an extended period of empirical research not more than 12 months before the academy begins and is expected to submit a completed dissertation within 12 to 18 months of the first Academy date.
    • Ability to converse and write in English, the academy language.
    • Must be willing and able to travel to South Africa and Germany on the academy dates.

    The AAUD provides all travel related costs for those selected to attend. Applications for the 2018 cohort will open in February, 2018.